“Attached” “Addicted” “Completely Dependent Upon” “Can’t Live Without It” “My Life Depends On It”- these are all sentiments commonly used to describe people’s relationships with their digital technology devices. Phones, tablets, laptops, televisions, and now watches, have all become integral parts of everyday life. We use technology for time, calls, internet, financing, meditating, eating, sleeping, playing games, organizing, and more. Digital Addiction Disorder is the inability to go without using or interacting with a digital technological advice. Many researchers have warned that the invisible blue light which comes out of screens is addicting. Studies have compared scrolling through the newsfeed of a social media platform to taking cocaine- the brain reacts in the same way. Likes, Comments, and positive feedback on our social media posts light up the reward center of the brain. Some medical professionals have warned that looking at a screen on a digital technological devices before bed can shorten lifespan and lead to medical health problems.
Symptoms of Digital Addiction Disorder
Digital addiction resembles both an impulsive and a compulsive disorder, writes Manfred Kets de Vries. “Studies of this disorder fail to agree whether DAD is a disorder in its own right or a symptom of other underlying conditions such as an obsessive-compulsive or impulse-control disorder. Whatever it’s called, DAD presents a compulsive behaviour pattern that can completely take over the addict’s life.” Symptoms include:
- Claiming that spending time online or “connecting” with friends online is supportive to them, helps them escape their daily stress, relax, or make them feel better
- More time is spent engaged with digital technology and the internet than with people, in relationships, or meaningful activities
- For those who play complex narrative rich online “fantasy” games, the meaning of virtual worlds has replaced that of the real world
- Has a secret life, identity, and persona online that they cling to and panic over when their technology based life is threatened
- When banished from digital technology use, their mood and behavior becomes: restless, emotional, anxious, irritable, aggressive, violent, distressed.
- Will escape or sneak off from social activities to participate in using digital technology or the internet
- Physical symptoms can include: headaches, backaches, neck aches, carpal tunnel, poor hygiene, vision problems, sleeping problems, disordered eating, and more.
Healing Digital Addiction Disorder
Though the disorder is not yet classified as a mental illness, digital dependency is interfering with the quality of life of millions of people around the world, including young children. Learning how to regulate emotions, deal with cravings to technology use, and dealing with symptoms of withdrawal are part of the recovery process. Similar to drugs and alcohol, DAD requires periods of abstinence in addition to psychotherapy to discover the underlying conditions contributing to impulsive and compulsive use of technology.
Avalon By The Seea is a certified dual diagnosis treatment center, able to serve the individual and unique needs of each client. One of California’s premiere and only primary mental health treatment centers, our approach to co-occurring disorders is second to none. For more information on our program and a confidential assessment, please call 1-855-464-8409